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I will be attending the Lodging Green + Sustainability Conference in Dallas from October 1 to 3. Be sure to watch for coverage on the Green Lodging News website. The first-year event will be held at the LEED Gold Omni Dallas Hotel and will kick off with a tour of the property that includes green features ranging from a 25,000-gallon rainwater cistern to a keycard-based guestroom energy management system. The conference will feature Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. as the keynote speaker and two full days of educational sessions, trade show exhibits and networking opportunities. If you are going to be in the Dallas area, the organizers of the Lodging Green + Sustainability Conference are currently offering free entry into the Exhibit Hall during the event.
A Vitamin C infused shower? Alarm clocks that waken you gradually instead of sending your heart racing? Wall surface enclosures that cover equipment with elevated electromagnetic fields (EMF) emissions? These are just a few of the features found in the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino’s Stay Well Rooms—rooms that guests are paying $30 more a night to stay in. In case you missed it, Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Hotel & Casino and Delos, a real estate developer, announced this past week that the MGM Grand will be quadrupling its Stay Well room count from 42 to 171 rooms and suites, encompassing the entire fourteenth floor of the hotel’s main tower. I asked Delos founder Paul Scialla about the expansion and he said the rooms have received positive guest feedback since launching a year ago.
At this past April’s Green Meeting Industry Council Sustainable Meetings Conference in Chicago, Green Lodging News was an exhibitor. While manning our exhibit table at that event, I had someone come up to me to tell me that he often uses our online Green Product & Service Directory to shop for the property he has in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Of course I was happy to hear that. The person told me he had recently purchased laundry equipment through one of our listing companies. I did some checking this past week and about 1,000 of you visit our Green Product & Service Directory each month. To those of you who already do visit the Directory, thank you. Those of you who have yet to visit the Directory, please do so. There are now more than 100 listings in 44 different categories.
Back in April I reported on the coming of Drive Electric Orlando to the Orlando, Fla., area. The program officially launched last week. With the help of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, which is renting Nissan LEAF plug-in electric vehicles at its Orlando International Airport location, Orlando visitors can now drive an electric car to their hotel and favorite destinations. More than 20 Orlando area hotels/hotel companies are partners in the venture—each offering charging stations for guests. The Drive Electric Orlando website includes a handy map where one can find charging stations. There are now more than 300 charging stations available. Many of the hotel partners are offering free valet parking for electric cars. Attendants will not only park the car, but also plug it in to recharge the battery.
Let’s say you are planning a trip and you use TripAdvisor to help you identify a place to stay. Once you enter your destination and dates of travel and hit “enter” you are taken to a list of lodging establishments. At that point you have the choice of sorting your options by criteria such as “Best Value,” “Luxury,” “Romantic,” and “Green.” According to Jenny Rushmore, director of responsible travel at TripAdvisor, that “Green” option has been selected 100,000 times since TripAdvisor launched its GreenLeaders program earlier this year in April. This past week I posted my fourth article in my series on green lodging certification programs—this time on TripAdvisor’s GreenLeaders program. More than 2,100 hotels and B&Bs now participate as either a GreenLeader or GreenPartner in TripAdvisor’s green lodging recognition program.
I have completed three articles on green lodging certification programs so far—one on the Audubon International Green Lodging Program, another on the Green Key Global Eco-Rating Program, and another on the Green Seal Standard for Lodging Properties, GS-33. This week be sure to look for the fourth in my series of articles—this time focusing on TripAdvisor’s GreenLeaders program. For those of you not familiar with GreenLeaders, it was launched on Earth Day earlier this year. The program considers a property’s holistic approach to green practices and ranks them based on four levels of participation—Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum. The more green practices a hotel has in place, the higher its TripAdvisor GreenLeaders level. Hotels that don't meet the requirements for GreenLeaders can still participate in the program.
If you are looking for data to support your implementation of socially responsible business practices and justification to use those practices in your marketing efforts, I highly recommend taking a look at the results of a survey just released by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy. According to The Nielsen Global Survey on Corporate Social Responsibility, 50 percent of global consumers surveyed are willing to pay more for goods and services from companies that have implemented programs to give back to society, an increase of five points (45 percent) from 2011. Nielsen surveyed more than 29,000 Internet respondents in 58 countries. The percentage of consumers willing to pay more increased among both males and females.
Hospitality companies with casinos here in the United States have generally done an excellent job implementing sustainability programs. Witness the many articles here on Green Lodging News about the various gaming companies—especially those in Las Vegas. Where they are still failing is in the ongoing exposure of guests and employees to secondhand smoke in casinos where smoking is still legal. A recent study hammers home the danger in exposing individuals to secondhand smoke in a casino environment. In case you missed it, the study published in Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association, shows how implementing a smoke-free policy in casinos actually reduces the number of casino-related medical emergencies and ambulance calls. The focus of the study: Gilpin County, Colo.
This past week I posted the second in my series of articles on green lodging certification programs. It focuses on the Green Key Global Eco-Rating Program. (I had previously written about Audubon International’s Green Lodging Program. See our website for that article.) The Green Key program got its start in Canada where there are now 1,231 rated properties. The program was launched by the Hotel Association of Canada (HAC) in 1997. In partnership with LRA Worldwide, Inc. in the United States, HAC has grown the program to include 1,621 rated properties in the U.S. There are 20 additional countries that now have Green Key rated properties. Green Key’s strategy of getting hotel companies to commit entire portfolios (or significant chunks) to its rating program has been a successful one.
I have begun a series of articles on the various green lodging certification programs. Please be sure to look for them in the coming weeks. They will appear in no particular order. The first one, on Audubon International’s Green Lodging Program, was just posted on Green Lodging News. I have taken a really close look at just a few programs so far. They can all be improved in one way or another. Some of them have applications that just need a good proofreading. If you are involved in one or are considering one and notice something that needs to be improved, don’t hesitate to offer your suggestions to those who run the program. What have I noticed so far? In one case I caught a question that was outdated by a couple of years. It made me wonder how often the application was looked at.
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